Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring GreeenLane Estate Winery
– October 2015 –
The inviting entrance and patio at GreenLane Estate Winery became even more so when I noticed a large water dish for dogs at the access to the fenced patio. They think of everything here to make their guests – of all kinds – feel welcome. It was a warm, quiet day at the winery, so Dianne Smith, General Manager and Winemaker, insisted that our Brittany Spaniel be taken out of the car and provided a shady spot near that never-ending water dish. Once settled, she shared her dog stories about her rescued red Doberman, who has patrolled the vineyards these last 4 years scaring off the birds. Unfortunately, Oskar (named for Oscar Schindler of the famous Schindler’s list) is recovering from a hind leg injury at the moment, but assistant winemaker, Gavin Paton’s Labradoodle named Barley was in the vineyard ensuring that no small mammals became grape tasters. Having exchanged credentials as dog lovers, we then moved on to sample the full range of GreenLane’s wines in the spacious and beautifully renovated tasting room.
Independently owned, GreenLane is a boutique winery that was inspired by a passion for fine wines and a conversation with a childhood friend over a glass of such wine. The vision for creating a local winery producing high quality small-batch fine wines was realized in 2009 with the purchase of the Beamsville property at the intersection of GreenLane and Cherry Avenue in Vineland. Named after the bordering Green Lane, the winery embodies the essence and country charm of the area and the ideals of the vision. Although the site included established vineyards, the early days of winemaking began in a small clapboard farmhouse with newly arrived winemaker Dianne Smith focused on producing outstanding wines.
I visited the winery in its first year of operation, and so impressed with the quality and finesse of the wines that I have spent the last 5 years convincing Dianne Smith to let us introduce her wines to our Savvy Selections subscribers. As a boutique winery, production levels were also so small that the large size of our subscriber base was a challenge. Now however, we are delighted to have the opportunity to introduce you not only to Dianne’s fabulous white wines, but also to her plush reds from the warm 2012 vintage.
In your Savvy Selections you will find…
GreenLane Chardonnay sur Lie VQA 2010 – a creamy full bodied elegant wine
GreenLane Cabernet Franc VQA 2012 – the opulent, fruit-forward red wine
GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2012 – a bold, powerful wine that is definitely ‘cellar worthy’.
Pop in with your pooch…
The team at GreenLane are always at the winery to welcome to you – and your well-behaved pooch – to their small winery. When your travels take you to Niagara, be sure to pop in for a visit to try many of the other wines produced from the fruit of both the original and the new estate, including Pinot ‘Grieving’ from Dianne’s newly introduced band, Betrayed. Due to their size and growing popularity of their wines, you rarely find GreenLane’s wines at the LCBO.
Looking for more wine trip tips?
Our friendly Savvy Team (minus an office dog) is ready to help you with travel ideas and wine tips too. Give us a call anytime on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
Cheers & Enjoy!
GreenLane Estate Winery
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins
Originally from a small seaside village in North Wales, Dianne Smith travelled the world with her family as her father’s job brought many transfers. “The wine bug hit me while I was studying Geology in Florida…and waiting on tables at a wine bar”, Diane recalls. “I finished up my degree, then looked for a post grad opportunity. The Brock University and Niagara College in their Oenology & Viticulture programs hit the mark. Once graduated, attempted to learn as much about the wine industry as I could, working for the LCBO and wine bars, in marketing and production at other local wineries such as Tawse, Hillebrand and Southbrook Vineyards too.
Saw an ad in the paper…
In March 2010, while working for Southbrook, I answered an ad for winery staff for a new, start up winery in Niagara. Five years later, I run GreenLane, juggling winemaking duties with my amazing assistant winemaker, Gavin Paton, and developing the GreenLane brand into one known for beauty and quality. In such a small, tight-knit team, we all wear quite a few hats!” Spoken like an entrepreneur!
GreenLane’s first vineyard location was chosen for its proximity to Lake Ontario, which offers a long growing season with cool evenings that effectively maintains the acidity in the Riesling and Pinot Gris and the quality of its very rocky clay loam soils, benefits the established plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, as well as the Riesling and Pinot Gris vines.
The new winery location offers accessibility to visitors meandering through Beamsville and a space five times that of the original old farmhouse. In addition to a beautiful retail area and extensive production space, the site offers a lovely enclosed patio. The building has been extensively renovated to provide the perfect space for a boutique winery such as GreenLane. The new site is more sheltered, offering temperatures as much as 5F warmer than the original, as well as somewhat rocky clay loam with high iron content. Dianne has planted Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay, following the advice of trusted wine industry friends, who indicated the site had an ideal terroir for Bordeaux varieties.
Moving = Surprises
Moving to the new winery has brought many benefits, but also some challenges for the team. Dianne tells an entertaining story of her first vintage at the new site. Hot weather meant that the Pinot Gris had to be harvested. Renovations were barely completed and the newly poured crush pad barely dried. An electrician from Toronto had installed the new press. As the Pinot Gris arrived – picked by a willing crew borrowed from another winery – the grapes sat on the skins as Dianne tried to start the press. Yikes, it wouldn’t work! Frantic calls to winemaker friends and neighbors brought a local electrician who declared, as he brought the press on line, that ‘those Toronto electricians really don’t know anything about winemaking equipment’.
By this time, the juice was a lovely deep pink colour. Into the fermentation tanks it went, as Dianne brought all her skills as a winemaker to bear to – as naturally as possible – filter the wine to a delicate peach hue. The 2013 Pinot Gris is her most popular wine and, if you’ve seen and tasted it, you’ll agree that she was very successful in her ‘rescue’ of the wine!
Dianne’s prior experience has led her to eschew conventional farming. Organic and biodynamic practices are followed in the vineyards and cellar, while a sustainable/herbicide-free approach is used in the vineyard. Says Dianne, ‘We are proud to farm sustainably and try to loosely follow the biodynamic calendar. We hope to farm the new site organically and to obtain certification in due course.’
Dianne is an enthusiastic host in the tasting room; her commitment to GreenLane and to her craft is almost tangible. Asked to describe her philosophy of winemaking, she says, “‘We pursue a vineyard first philosophy, embracing vintage variations in both aromatic and flavour profiles in our resulting wines. Winemaking is a labour of love. We strive to craft wines that speak truthfully of their vineyard origins by paying close attention to the terroir and allowing the fruit and the vintage to determine how the wines evolve. During harvest, the fruit is our dictator of style and our process allows the true flavours of grapes to shine.”
Love for Mother Nature & Old Man Winter
Dianne is also true to her philosophy in the new brand she has created, Betrayed. Two brutal winters destroyed portions of both the delicate Pinot Gris and GreenLane’s 25-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vines. In response, Dianne, “Betrayed by Mother Nature and Old Man Winter, we launched a sassy new line and named it Betrayed. Our first wine, Pinot Grieving, tells this story with the front label denoting Old Man Winter as a shadowy man, lurking in the background, wreaking havoc while the grapes (shown as a woman) weep. The 1950’s Pop Art styled label was designed by Niagara College students.”
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!
Handpicked and sorted, this small-batch wine from the hot 2010 vintage is produced from the fruit of just 3-year-old vines – hard to believe given the depth and intensity of the flavour. This wine spent 22 months in a nearly new barrel and 3 neutral oak barrels, stirred twice weekly to integrate the flavours of the lies.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brilliant gold, the complex aromas include toasted nut, butter pastry, pineapple, spiced vanilla, pear and apple tart. Dry, medium-full bodied, the power and intensity of the fruit is balanced by a creamy yet fresh texture, the flavours of caramel apple, pineapple and subtle nutty notes caressing the palate through a long, spiced finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Rich and flavourful, it’s a match for Thanksgiving turkey or ham, pasta with a creamy seafood sauce or roast pork.
Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar 2-3 years
From the wonderfully warm 2012 vintage, this Cabernet Franc was handpicked from 8-year-old vines in the Antonio ds Silva-Ribeiro vineyard. It was then aged 9 months in French oak, 20% of which was new.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This opulent Cabernet Franc tantalizes with a whiff of pencil shavings mingling with lifted aromas of roses, dark ripe berries and black cherry, cloves and chocolate. Showcasing ripe fruit on the palate, the wine is harmonious and well integrated, the tannins velvety, the balancing acidity subtle. The chocolate and spice notes join a chorus of lush fruit on the finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with roast lamb, pork or rare breast of duck.
Cellaring: This wine will cellar a further 2-3 years.
Produced from the fruit of 22-year-old vines that was hand harvested and sorted in different stages – some as late as the first week of November during this warm vintage. The wine was then aged 19 months in French oak barrels, gently punched down 4 times per day to increase extraction and intensity.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This inky, powerful wine offers great intensity and extraction. On the nose, the aromas of cassis and berry are rich and ripe, traces of vanilla, dark chocolate and spice merging and mingling with the fruit. Ripe yet firm tannins and refined acidity frame the concentrated dark fruit, hints of smoke, dried herbs, spice and pepper adding depth and complexity. Long and intense on the finish, the wine will cellar well.
Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with rack of lamb or rare prime rib.
Cellaring: Ready now or it will cellar nicely for another 4 to 5 years
With GreenLane Chardonnay sur Lie…
Sausage & Exotic Mushroom Turkey Stuffing
By Emily Richards, LCBO Food & Drink Magazine
1 lb. fresh pork sausage (consider using 1 chorizo for a smoky flavour)
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 small carrots, finely chopped
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 Tbsp dried sage
¼ C butter
2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms
2 cups small chanterelle mushrooms or sliced shitake mushroom caps
½ cup dry white wine
Salt & freshly ground pepper
8 cups cubed rustic bread (French or Italian)
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
¾ cup chicken stock
Preheat oven to 325F.
Remove casings from sausages. Cook sausage meat in large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up into small pieces with wooden spatula, for 8 minutes or until cooked through. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of fat from the skillet.
Add shallots, garlic, celery, carrots and sage. Sautée for 8 minutes or until golden. Add butter and stir until melted.
Add oyster and chanterelle mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are softened. Add white wine and boil until wine evaporates. Season with salt & pepper. Scrape into a large bowl. Add bread and parsley. Toss to combine.
Drizzle chicken stock over stuffing mixture to moisten. Pour into greased 10 cup casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp and golden.
With GreenLane Cabernet Franc …
Duck Breasts with Blood Orange Salsa
By Lucy Waverman, The Flavour Principle
photo credit: www.ricardocuisine.com
3 duck breasts (about 12 oz. each)
1 tsp cracked fennel seeds
1 tsp cracked coriander seeds
Salt & freshly ground pepper
½ cup chopped fennel
½ cup chopped blood orange flesh (or use Cara Cara oranges)
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 tsp chopped, seeded jalapeño pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp blood orange juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped chives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp granulates sugar
Combine fennel, blood orange flesh, red onion, jalapeño, olive oil, blood orange juice, lemon juice, chives, cilantro, sugar and salt to taste. Reserve
Preheat oven to 450F.
Score skin of duck breasts at 1” intervals (do not cut into meat). Rub with fennel and coriander seeds. Season with salt & pepper.
Place skin side down in a cold ovenproof skillet & place over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until fat is rendered & skin is beginning to crisp.
Pour off fat & place skillet in oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until duck is medium-rare. Remove from skillet & let rest 5 minutes.
Slice breasts into ½ “ slices. Serve topped with salsa.
With GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon…
Herbalicious Rack of Lamb
By Lucy Waverman, The Flavour Principle
photo credit: www.LucyWaverman.com
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup finely diced seeded tomato
½ cup chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
Salt & freshly ground pepper
¼ cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 lamb racks (8 chops each), frenched
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Combine bread crumbs, tomato, herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and melted butter. Mix well & transfer to a shallow dish. Reserve.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat & add oil. Season lamb with salt & pepper. Sear lamb, fat side down, for 2 minutes. Turn over & sear for 2 more minutes. Upend racks & sear meaty ends. Turn racks bone side down & place skillet in oven. Roast racks for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven & brush mustard over meat. Roll racks in break crumb mixture & return to pan, bone side down. Roast for another 10-15minutes or until just pink. Let lamb rest for 5 minutes before carving.
GreenLane’s red wine & Chocolate Brownies!
GreenLane’s big bold red wines would be delicious with dark chocolate. The winery team think that they have died and gone to heaven when Dianne makes these brownies to enjoy with GreenLane’s big red wines.
Old Fashioned Cocoa Brownies
From Dianne’s kitchen to yours
photo credit: www.simplyscratch.com
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup double-strength hot brewed coffee
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp salt
2 cup sugar
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together into a large bowl. Add the coffee and corn syrup – whisk until mixture is smooth and glossy. Add applesauce, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely blended.
Add flour and fold in yogurt with wooden spoon just until it is incorporated.
Fold batter into an 8×8” nonstick baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until mixture begins to separate from the edges of the pan and centre is firm to touch.
Remove from oven, place on rack, leave in pan to cool completely.
Spicy Chocolate-Cayenne Truffle Brownies
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (+ more for greasing pan)
4 large eggs at room temperature
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (+ more for dusting)
¾ – 1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare pan with butter and line with parchment.
In sauce pan, melt broken chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring often. Once melted, remove from heat and add both sugars, stir and set aside.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cayenne into large bowl and set aside.
Add eggs one at a time to the slightly warm chocolate, whisk after each.
Add spoonfuls of the flour/cocoa mixture and stir with a spatula until smooth.
Pour batter into 8×8” pan (bake for 35-40 minutes) or 9×13” pan (bake for 20-25 minutes).
Let cool and remove from pan. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and cut as desired. Note: For more fudgy brownies, tester should come out slightly coated.